RARE EBERLE 1796 CONTRACT MARKED BAYONET

$1,295.00

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Item Code: 1052-86

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This rare bayonet is marked by the maker in a sunken cartouche with raised letters on the base of the blade reading “Eberle.” Charles Louis Eberle emigrated to the U.S. from Germany with brothers George A. and Henry J. in 1794, arriving in Philadelphia September 12. Charles recalled that on July 15, 1795, he, “began to work with Henry Schively, in Third, below Chestnut street, a cutler and surgeon’s instrument maker, and my two brothers found employment at Mr. Eckfelt’s, in Fifth street, a first rate smith.” Needless to say, Eckfelt and, especially, Schively will be familiar names to arms collectors.

Charles is noted as having inspected swords made by Rose in 1808 and most sources simply indicate his bayonets date 1808 or earlier. Fortunately, he was more specific, recalling that he, “continued with Mr. Schively until in the spring, 1796, when, in company with my brothers, we undertook a contract with the United States to make as many bayonets and ramrods as we would like to make. We did make in all about 3,000 sets . . . “ (Papers read before the Lancaster Hist. Soc. 1899, vol. 4.1. A Branch of the Eberle Family, by members of the family. P.75-85.)

These bayonets were among those musket components contracted for by the U.S. government in an effort to rebuild U.S. arms inventories starting in 1794 by establishing national armories and authorizing the purchase of muskets from domestic makers, many of whom received components for assembly. Records are skimpy, but Moller records 1,885 bayonets delivered by George and Charles Eberle to the Schuylkill Arsenal between January 1797 to mid-1800.

This bayonet has been carefully cleaned, is in excellent condition, and has an open, unbridged socket mortised for a top-mounted bayonet stud, with rounded shoulders to the mortise and the blade shoulders. The maker’s mark is in raised letters in a sunken cartouche on the blade and reads EBERLE, with the last two letters just a tad indistinct. This is a rare example of an early U.S. bayonet made as the country moved to develop its own resources for national defense.  [SR] [ph:m]

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